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Old 09-12-2014, 05:31 PM   #1
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Solar panels

Hello. I'm looking into solar panels I have a brand-new unit I am full timing. Live on the East coast. I know nothing about them I just started my research anyone have any opinion on what kind to get how many and the pros and cons. Thanks

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Old 09-12-2014, 05:39 PM   #2
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Have you read everything from this website?


Are you thinking to do the install yourself?

What's your budget for this project? $500 ? $2000? Or more?

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Old 09-12-2014, 06:17 PM   #3
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I'm thinking anywhere from &1000 to $2500 maybe a little more if needed
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Old 09-13-2014, 09:36 AM   #4
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Welcome to the forum !

Solar is a hot topic here, and gets discussed often.

Many good discussions just recently.....here are some links to get you started.

Routing Solar Panel Wiring?

Solar on Class A's

Solar Power

Possible solar power add-on

TriStar MPPT and other questions?

Battery life on solar

Trimetric settings lessons learned

Read all of the above, and then you will no doubt have some very specific questions!


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Old 09-13-2014, 09:55 AM   #5
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Here is a write-up on my install that may be helpful.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf VSheetz - Solar Setup for my RV v1.1.pdf (473.7 KB, 93 views)
Vince and Susan
2011 Tiffin Phaeton 40QTH (Cummins ISC/Freightliner)
Flat towing a modified 2005 Jeep (Rubicon Wrangler)
Previously a 2002 Fleetwood Pace Arrow 37A and a 1995 Safari Trek 2830.
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Old 09-13-2014, 12:29 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by pasdad1 View Post
Have you read everything from this website?


Are you thinking to do the install yourself?

What's your budget for this project? $500 ? $2000? Or more?

Good company installs however, if you do a bit if research, you can do it yourself at literally a fraction of what these guys charge. You will need to run a looooong time to get what you pay back from green energy if you take the AM route, in my opinion. They pretty much are working on the Solar Hype for folks that either know nothing about solar or don't want to know. Oh well, that's what business is all about and they do perform great work!
2017 Thor Outlaw 29H
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Old 09-13-2014, 09:27 PM   #7
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More good information: RV Electrical
2013 Leisure Travel Vans Unity U24MB, 635 watts solar, 440 AH batteries, 2000 watt inverter, Koni struts and shocks, Hellwig rear anti-swaybar, SumoSprings front and back, 2012 Hyundai Accent SE, Blue Ox baseplates, Aladdin towbar and Patriot
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Old 12-03-2014, 02:45 AM   #8
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All you need is a few panels, wire, & controller since you already have the batteries.
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Old 12-03-2014, 07:24 AM   #9
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Installing solar is a bit more involved than throwing a couple of panels on the roof and running wires to a controller. I had a 135W Kyocera panel installed on my WGO View 23J about 6 years ago by The Sun Works in Niland, CA. Their web site isn't much to look at but their workmanship is outstanding. The Solar Boost 2000E panel inside looks like a factory install. I had done a lot of research on the View-Navion users group forum and thought I knew the best way to run the cables but Solar Mike Gohl, the owner, took one look and found a much better way that completely hides all cables while minimizing the length of the runs.

In the southwest, a single 135W panel has my batteries charged by 10AM. If there are clouds, it might take until noon. If it's overcast, it may take all day. In NY, you might need 2 panels but prices have come down over the years so it's probably a wash. I'm taking my new-to-me 2010 WGO Vista to The Sun Works for solar this week. He estimates a 245W panel with the same Solar Boost 2000E controller plus installation of a PD7645 (I bought the PD separately) to replace the Parallax 4645 will cost less than the $1000 I paid in 2008.

If you enjoy doing this stuff and have the time, DIY is the way to go but, if you're like me and don't want to futz with stuff like this, find someone like Solar Mike. It might be worth a leisurely trip to the southwest. I agree that outfits like AM Solar are outrageously expensive.

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Old 12-03-2014, 03:16 PM   #10
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I installed three 100w panels on the roof of my Journey and a MPPT controller inside the coach so I could easily monitor charging progress. Made the mounting brackets myself out of 1.5" angle aluminum. It is a much simpler job than dealers would have you believe and one you can do yourself if you are reasonably handy. I brought the feed down from the roof inside a door cavity for a pocket door. There was an out of site existing wiring route to the charge battery solenoid where I connected the solar feed to the house batteries. The Chassis batteries also get a part of the charge through the Trik-L-Charge. 100 watt panels are currently about $150 each and the MPPT controller was $100. With all the piece parts and supplies, likely cost me about $750. Fabricated the mounts at home to be self leveling to accommodate the curve in the roof. Bought all the Solar stuff off e-Bay locally and am extremely satisfied.
If you plan to do it yourself, plan your panel placement to allow for expansion. I would love to add another three panels and am sorting out how to do it. My coach is stored in a lot without power so I no longer have to worry about the batteries now. I have since added a residential fridge and with another 300 watts could likely boondock for extended periods with minimal generator use. I think you could attain a high level of self sufficiency with 200 watts in a Class C but even 100 watts would keep your batteries charged.
Good luck,
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Old 12-03-2014, 10:47 PM   #11
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I completely agree with bobmac. I haven't done a MH install. But I have a storm shelter with a mix of 80 & 90watt panels. The 520watt system I installed myself & made the racks myself. System has been operating for three years. Just remember to calculate the length of the wires & use the 12VDC chart to reduce loss.

101 Wire Loss Chart
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Old 12-03-2014, 11:00 PM   #12
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Your local RV dealership will do a solar install but want to be selling you the most expensive parts. So shop & buy your own.

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Old 12-03-2014, 11:47 PM   #13
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My current motorhome (Sunstar 26he) is my first motorhome that I had solar installed on. I went through the dealership instead of trying to install myself. I know my limitations and this was not a project for me. Having said that, I had a complete package installed manufactured by Go Power (Mobile Power Systems and Solutions for RV, Utility, Fleet and Marine Application). They have a couple different package options and I am very pleased with the quality of Go Power's equipment. If you are a do it yourselfer, you can actually buy their equipment on Amazon.com.

Good luck!
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Old 12-05-2014, 06:51 PM   #14
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My 1991 Lazy Daze came to me with two 75 watt panels and charging monitor installed back in 1996. The system works flawlessly and we've only had to run the generator twice for a backup charge. Once parked under beautiful 100 year oak trees and the second after three days in rainy overcast weather.

Equipment is so cheap now I'm thinking of swapping to two 150 watt panels.

I saw a rig where the owner has 650 watts of panels and removed his generator to make space for four more batteries. He says he never has to plug in.

Now if we could just run the A/C from solar panels...

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